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A copyright system reflects struggles to define the relationship between competing values. This competition not only manifests itself in copyright law, but also (and increasingly) in copyright technology. Technologies embody contestable social values; values that can be reshaped when deployed in a social context. Copyright technology is no exception and, thus, we experience efforts to reshape the copyright system (and the values within it) by affecting the technological landscape in which it is located (in what I refer to as technopolitics). Contemporary claims for a right to hack are but one manifestation of these processes but, as I will argue, an insufficient one at best. Realizing the limits of a right to hack thrusts our technopolitics into broader socio-technical arrangements.


Paper presented at SELA 2011 in San José, Costa Rica, in the sesión devoted to “Property Rights.”